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Promoting Healthy Choices: Information versus Convenience

Listed author(s):
  • Jessica Wisdom
  • Julie S. Downs
  • George Loewenstein

Success in slowing obesity trends would benefit from policies aimed at reducing calorie consumption. In a field experiment at a fast-food sandwich chain, we address the effects of providing calorie information, mimicking recent legislation, and test an alternative approach that makes ordering healthier slightly more convenient. We find that calorie information reduces calorie intake. Providing a daily calorie target does as well, but only for non-overweight individuals. Making healthy choices convenient reduces intake when the intervention is strong. However, a milder implementation reduces sandwich calories, but does not reduce total calories due to compensatory effects on side orders and drinks. (JEL I12, I18, L81)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.2.2.164
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/data/2008-0129_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 164-178

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:2:p:164-78
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.2.164
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
  2. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  3. Kim, Sung-Yong & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Capps, Oral, Jr., 2000. "The Effect Of Food Label Use On Nutrient Intakes: An Endogenous Switching Regression Analysis," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 25(01), July.
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